Work to start on theatre restoration

By David LennardWORK will get under way this month on the major part of the £843,000 refurbishment of a historic theatre.If everything goes according to plan, the Fisher Theatre in Bungay – built by the Fisher family as one of a series of 13 theatres in the first half of the 19th century – will be fully up and running in November.

By David Lennard

WORK will get under way this month on the major part of the £843,000 refurbishment of a historic theatre.

If everything goes according to plan, the Fisher Theatre in Bungay – built by the Fisher family as one of a series of 13 theatres in the first half of the 19th century – will be fully up and running in November.

The board of the Bungay Arts and Theatre Society that owns the Broad Street building has awarded the contract for the work to AD Utting (Construction) Ltd and its members are jubilant that work is about to start.


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Judy Kelsey, secretary, said: "It's the news we've all been waiting for. At long last it's makeover time for the theatre. The major building work is scheduled to start on site this month."

To clear the site to enable the work to begin, a sale was held in the theatre auditorium on Saturday when a range of items including tables, chairs, wood, china, and cutlery were sold.

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Hard work by the five core members of the society has won funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (£276,000), the ERDF (Objective 2) (£337,558), EEDA/Suffolk Development Agency (£90,000), Suffolk County Council (£60,000), Suffolk Environmental Trust (£35,000), Bungay Town Trust (£3,500), and Bungay Community Fund (£6,450).

Ms Kelsey said management board members were grateful for all the support they received and added the theatre should be in full use by the end of the year.

Over the 32 weeks of the contract the building, last used as a theatre in 1844, will be transformed, with the scheme including a specialist flooring to the auditorium, lighting, heating, dressing rooms, a lift, balcony and box seats, as well as considerable renovation work to the roof, ceilings and walls.

It will produce a building that will be a testimony to the acting Fisher family – it is the only one of the 13 theatres they built in Norfolk and north Suffolk with its original façade – and become a venue for all aspects of theatre.

david.lennard@eadt.co.uk

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